Marketers are itching to get close to consumers in time for a holiday spending surge. This season, we think marketers should take the opportunity to be bold (at work) with their podcasting efforts. We know lots of retailers and brands — from Sephora to Blue Apron to Shopify — have their own podcasts. And even more advertise on popular podcasts to reach consumers. Whether you’re advertising on podcasts or have started your own branded pod (or both!), we think this is a unique medium you can use this holiday season to fuel customer acquisition and retention. Use our do’s and don’ts of holiday podcasting to authentically connect with customers over the holidays:

  • Don’t: Assume listeners will tune out. Podcasts fill a specific kind of downtime — you can listen and be engaged while multitasking, whether you’re commuting or doing dishes. And despite a drop in commuting, listenership has rebounded quickly to pre-pandemic levels. Sweet Fish Media, a B2B podcast agency, actively encourages brands to release podcast episodes over the holidays, citing a spike in listenership. Whether you’re advertising on podcasts or wrestling with the holiday schedule of your own branded podcast, now is the perfect time to keep calm and pod on.
  • Don’t: Pretend the holidays aren’t happening. Podcasts are intimate, engaging, and rely heavily on the personality of the host(s) to connect with listeners. If your hosts are super into the holiday spirit, don’t be afraid to bring that festivity into your ads or episode content. For those advertising on podcasts, this may mean giving the host some extra room to add a festive joke or a fun holiday story to the ad copy. For marketers with branded podcasts, this could mean doing special holiday episodes: Trader Joe’s is a great example of holiday-themed content.
  • Do: Use podcast advertising as a calmer way to reach stressed-out consumers. Consumers are inundated with ads this time of year. Make your ads stand out by treating listeners like people rather than just a set of impressions. When finalizing your podcast ad strategy, think about yourself as a listener: How many of the same ad could you tolerate before skipping? What kind of content would feel reassuring to you? Use your podcast advertising as an opportunity to educate customers about the steps you’ve taken to make their lives easier, from safety measures to convenient delivery options and online product information.
  • Do: Lean into empathy in your branded podcast content. The holidays aren’t always a joyful time — this year will likely bring a higher level of financial, physical, mental, and emotional strain for many consumers. Marketers, you have a unique opportunity with a branded podcast to be empathetic to those anxieties and give listeners an escape from those fears for the 30 minutes they listen to your podcast. This is the time to go beyond the default mailbag episode of listener questions; consider an episode around customer stories or a funny and personal interview.

Don’t rest on your podcast laurels this holiday season — use your podcast ads and episodes to forge deeper connections with listeners. Check out our newest research on how to build a branded podcast, the state of podcast advertising, and trends in online audio. And if you have questions about podcast strategy, set up an inquiry.